Imagine a post-apocalyptic world in which you are the owner of the only store left in existence. Can you imagine that rushed, harried feeling you would get from being the sole shopkeeper on Earth, serving billions? If so, you can probably get a good idea of what it feels like to play LostStore.
LostStore, put out by YoYoYoMi, is a sim game in which you are indeed this lone shopkeeper in a government-controlled world. While the concept is interesting and fun, it’s not a of game for those who don’t do well in the real-life customer service industry.
The Last Storekeeper
As the only storekeeper in the world, you do simplified versions of what any storekeeper would do. You take stock of accounts, hire employees and ensure they have sufficient accommodations to keep them working, deal with traders to keep your limited supply of stock, harvest from supply crates that drop from the sky at random times during the day, the whole shebang. Just regular store things.
Despite this fact that this is the only store left in the world, or maybe because of that fact, people are still jerks when shopping. This game serves to remind people that being in customer service is a bad time. You don’t get a lot of explanation either, which doesn’t help.
On the Job Training
You, the owner of the shop, are flung into this experience with little briefing on how to do anything. Supply is limited and demand is huge and scary. You can build production zones, which are basically campers and RVs where your employees make things like ramen out of cat food. Production is slow to start though, and you can’t produce anything if you don’t have the basic necessities. A trader comes every night to deliver supplies, but the supplies he has are just as limited as yours. The only other source of goods are supply crates that drop out of the sky, once or twice a day. There is also the option to buy crates with gold, different from the regular money you earn in your shop. However, you can only buy gold with actual money. If you don’t want to spend actual money, get used to going negative in your accounts until you get your shop more established.
Reina is your guide in this world. Her relation to the store is confusing, but she mainly exists to give you advice in poor English on how to play LostStore. She occasionally pops up to tell you when the government is raising or dropping prices of different commodities. She also gives the occasional warning about uprisings, and to drop random, vague ideas into your head. For example: “Hey, did you ever wonder why you have the only store left in the world? You’d think other stores would’ve survived, huh . . . oh well, here’s 1,000 cash, later”.
Stocking Shelves for Eternity
The game itself is fun, if a bit intense at times. Customers come and snatch up items throughout the entire day, favoring certain items depending on current health or weather conditions. People will buy more beverages if it’s hot or medicine when there’s an epidemic. When first playing, you feel compelled to sell all of your stock to keep customers happy, and then have nothing left to sell the next day. It takes a while to get into the swing of things. After that . . . there’s not much to do. While it can be fun to run your own little store in an abandoned corner of a post-apocalyptic world, this game isn’t something I’d recommend to the person who’s just come home from an eight-hour retail shift.
The 8-bit style of LostStore is cute, but I’m pretty sure the only reason it has this style is so the developers could use actual name-brand images for their generic items while avoiding copyright due to blurry images. (We all know the image for their “headache” medicine is actually a picture of a real-life box of Tylenol.)
LostStore is a strategy game with a fun take on shop keeping in a post-apocalyptic world. Unfortunately, it falls into the fatal trap of repetition, and could very easily aggravate real-life retail employees.
Is It Hardcore?
While LostStore has a good basis and captures the harried life of the customer service employee pretty accurately, it has poor execution by way of vague instruction and repetition.